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The Rise of Mass Consumption Societies

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  • Kiminori Matsuyama

Abstract

This paper studies mechanisms behind the rise of mass consumption societies. The development process depicted follows the Flying Geese pattern, in which a series of industries take off one after another. As productivity improves in these industries, each consumer good becomes affordable to an increasingly large number of households, which constantly expand the range of goods they consume. This in turn generates larger markets for consumer goods, which leads to further improvement in productivity. For such virtuous cycles of productivity gains and expanding markets to occur, income distribution should be neither too equal nor too unequal. With too much equality, the economy stagnates in a poverty trap. With too much inequality, the development stops prematurely.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 110 (2002)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 1035-1070

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:110:y:2002:i:5:p:1035-1070

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  1. Baland, Jean-Marie & Ray, Debraj, 1991. "Why does asset inequality affect unemployment? A study of the demand composition problem," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 69-92, January.
  2. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1988. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 2709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stokey, Nancy L, 1988. "Learning by Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 701-17, August.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan & Lach, Saul, 1989. "Entry, Exit, and Diffusion with Learning by Doing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 690-99, September.
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